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Craig Rivet, seen in a game earlier this season, is leaving Montreal for San Jose after a dozen seasons with the Canadiens. ((Rick Stewart/Getty Images))

Montreal sent defenceman Craig Rivet to San Jose for Josh Gorges on Sunday, a trade that also involved an exchange of draft picks.

The 32-year-old Rivet has spent all 12 of his NHL seasons with Montreal. He has six goals and 10 assists in 54 games this season.

Rivet's relationship with first-year coach Guy Carbonneau soured when the veteran wasmade a healthy scratch for a game in January.

"It was something that I was preparing myself for," Rivet said of the trade. "It's something that's difficult because I've been in Montreal a long time. I have a lot of roots here.

"But at the same time I kind of saw the writing on the wall. I was thinking in my mind that change would be good."

He'll provide experience and depth for a relatively young defence corps. San Jose had a series of breakdowns in a 7-4 loss in Calgary on Saturday.

"I would not have felt very comfortable if we had gone through the trade deadline and not addressed this area," said San Jose general manager Doug Wilson.

"We gave up a very good young player in Josh Gorges, a real character kid," he added.

Gorges has a goal and three assists in 47 games. The 22-year-old Kelowna, B.C., native is in just his second season in the league.

Montreal also receives a first-round pick in 2007, with the Sharks obtaining a fifth-rounder in 2008.

The Sharks still have a first-round pick in the upcoming draft from a deal made with New Jersey last year.

With files from the Canadian Press